By Liaquath Mirza
So, we have veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah in the news again. No, it’s not in connection with any of his movie projects or even his personal life. He is in the news because he wronged the “right” with his ‘intolerant’ utterings on intolerance.
Aamir khan had walked down the road, Shahrukh too did so and even Naseer had done it earlier. While the ‘stars’ decided to touch the mute button on these touchy matters and generally observe the rule that ‘silence is golden’ on these matters, the ‘actor’ decided to voice his opinion once again. And boy did it invite the wrath and fury of a tropical cyclone!!
Cyclone Phethai has hit the seas of internet and TV studios were flooded with deluge of debates, dissections and downright cacophony. Naseer was hounded for some more sound bites. One can see a sea of bile flowing through the gutters of twitter.
Project us versus them has reached its peak .What to do… now that the elections are round the corner.
Alas the powers who had captured the power with the slogan sab ka saath sab ka vikaas can boast of neither. Sab ka saath was just a diplomatic jumla. A polite way of convincing the middles classes by donning the mask of moderation. An empty promise. If one looks closely at the slogan one notices that it comes with a ‘conditions apply’ asterisk attached. Condition being Muslims need not count on the Government’s saath.
As for as the second part of the slogan is concerned, poor chaps in the power echelons did try every trick in the book to build the perception of development. There was the sudden announcement of demonetisation and rainbow dreams were woven around it. Our worthy prime minister even cracked jokes about common man’s misery on foreign shores. Lakhs of crores of black money was to be brought back into the government coffers with this one stupendous move. One RBI governor was sent packing to pave the way for road roller of demonetisation. Another supposedly pliable one was brought on board who turned out to be not as palatable as expected to be so much later, the Gods of Delhi decided to spit him out.
The exercise proved to be a bigger flop than the thugs of Hindosthan. Figuratively speaking the thugs of Hindosthan were happily fleeing Indian shores finding luxurious shelters abroad, even acquiring new citizenships and generally leading their lavish lives of existence while the self declared chowkidaar was caught napping.
The move it seemed to me was apparently inspired by a pedestrian potboiler movie from down south in which an ‘economist’ donning the beggar robes advocates demonetisation of high denomination notes to root out black money. Or was it done at the behest of a certain bright eyed, green behind the ears team of chartered accountants of Pune?
Any way the source of germination of this idea is not important. What is important is Mr.Rambo 56 decided to carry out the surgical strike on black money with the precision of a hacker performing a delicate brain surgery. The result? Operation success patient dead.
Then came the GST and its shoddy implementation. The ‘Good and simple tax turned out to be a nightmare for the traders and businesses. Simple became a garangutan complex maze with myriad layers of tax slabs ranging from 5 to 28 percent.
Rules got complicated, traders got confused and Government machinery got muddled. Lawyer finance minister and entire political science prime minister trundled on with brave faces singing bhajans of self-glorification. But the masses were unimpressed. Downward slide at the hustings in election after election left the Gentlemen of the Nagpur controlled government worried.
So now the tried and tested trick of whipping up communal frenzy is hard at work at all quarters. Clashes of Saffron and green at every adda are manufactured, magnified and manipulated. The righteous right’s favourite whipping boy , the miyan bhai is paraded down the streets, lynched as and when necessary and generally shouted down from every pulpit ( This includes Sambit Patra’s comical shouts Maulana baith ja in TV rooms ) for the centuries old wrongs committed by his so called ‘ancestors’. Revenge served karma style.
The right wingers realised rather belatedly that flogging dalits (literally and figuratively) will adversely impact their poll prospects. So they are forced to maintain a facade of Hindu ektha even though they may detest them in private. But when it comes to the Miyan men and women folk they still need a villain to cast a shadow over their shortcomings of governance. So the project polarization and the othering of Muslim monsters continues. The righteous right can’t project centuries’ old sense of victimhood without the Muslims. Muslims are the very reason for their existence in the first place.
If one has to win elections again then one has to project ‘Babar ki aulad’ as the villlain of the piece for our great nation’s ills. Never mind the current failures of employment generation, agrarian distress, polluted rivers, toxic air and unkempt promises of 15 lakh in every account. Let’s talk about Muslims and their misdemeanours is the refrain of TV channel debates. For every short coming of the government there is the Muslim bogeyman that has to be dusted out, propped up from time to time and held accountable. Occasionally we will also resort to Nehru bashing in the process but that is only a side dish, our main course is still the Muslimmonster.
The nation does not need to know about real problems afflicting society. Muslim fodder will keep the debate mills on TVs and social media crunching grinding and churning. Nation needs a tamasha and skull cap wearing bearded miyan bhai puppets are the antagonists pitted against theatricals of a supposedly 56 inch chested and potbellied ageing matinee idol and his cohorts. Bollywood Block buster pot boiler in the making.
It is one thing when a libtard sickular dissents the present powers that be, but when that libtard happens to go by a Muslim name then all hell will break loose. The gaint monster machine of propaganda starts whirring, purring and then roaring. All other noises of reason and logic get drowned under the loud clickety clack of this gargantuan transformer toy.
Malice manufactured by it does the rounds of twitter then Facebook and then WhatsApp before turning its gaze on TV rooms.
Naseeruddin shah provided that machine with a perfect fodder that will probably last weeks before cogs in the machine slow down and come to a grinding halt.
Now let us see what Naseer said in that ill-fated interview given to karvan-e-mohabbat. Loosely translated it goes something like this:
‘The poison of polarisation has spread far and wide and now it is difficult to put the Djinn back into the bottle again. There is complete immunity and sanction given to lumpen elements to take law into their own hands. Now death of a cow is given more importance than the death of a cop. I am worried about my children who, we brought up without any religion. I was taught about religion in my childhood but my wife Ratna grew up in a more liberal environment. We both decided that we would not give our children religious education as it is our firm belief that being good or evil has nothing to do with religion instead we taught them about right and wrong. I am worried about my children in situations where mobs surround them and ask them if they are Hindu or Muslim because they are neither. They will not have an answer. I don’t see any improvement happening in the foreseeable future. These matters don’t scare me rather they make me angry. I feel every right thinking Indian should be angry and not feel scared. After all this nation is our home and who can dare evict us from our home’
Now any right thinking citizen should not have a problem with the angst and anger expressed by Naseeruddin shah. Yes he does exhibit a pessimistic outlook but given the way lumpen elements have started occupying centre stage that feeling is but natural. And yet the amount of viciousness unleashed on him actually validates his argument of hopelessness.
Now let us see a few gems of the vitriol.
His colleague from the industry Anupam Kher while grudgingly conceding that everyone has freedom to say whatever one wants to say comes up with a bizarre logic of stating that our country has so much freedom that one can criticize the chief of air staff, pelt stones at army men and abuse the army, how much more freedom does one need? His bizarre logic confirms to the classic whataboutery of right wing arguments when they run out of logical arguments. He somehow equates mob lynching where the hapless victims are defenceless, with stone peltings against massive weapon wielding armed forces pitted against their own people. He sees proportional relationship between a verbal criticisms of the air chief to the killing of an innocent teenager on a train for wearing his religion on his head. His inverse world does not differentiate between a verbal abuse and a fatal killing of a cop.
A wannabe rookie leader Amit jaani of UP Navnirman Sena looking for some limelight goes ahead and buys a one way ticket to Pakistan for Naseeruddin shah. The patriot is offended by anti national utterings of a miyan bhai. I wonder if the genius really tried to understand what Naseer said and what was it that he found offensive to his patriotic sensibilities.
All sundry TV news channels exploded with gleeful debates with an eye on TRP ratings and the TV room cubby hole windows filled up with assorted characters drawn from across the spectrum of left to right, passing judgements in favor of and against Naseeruddin Shah.
Poor Naseer was hounded again and again for some more sound bites to dig a deeper trench of controversy and ridicule. This tragi comedy circus will continue to hound the viewers until the TV worthies move on to another scapegoat and another spectacle.
I don’t know in which context Samuel Johnson quoted that” patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” but the saying suits to a T for our present times of mindless debates invoking nationalism and dragging the armed forces into every argument.
While the space of dissent for all right thinking Indians has shrunk substantially, dissent by an intellectual or even an ordinary person with a Muslim name against his photo in his aadhar card seems to have virtually come to a zero. It is not surprising at all when seeds of strife have been assiduously sown by none other than the great orator Prime minister who didn’t think twice before hitting below the belt with his sarcastic farewell speech in the parliament in honour of the outgoing Vice President. Poor chap should have approached the Yogi of UP for a name change from a Hamid to a Haldiram may be, to avoid ridicule by the glib globe trotter.
Muslims are akin to the ‘roaches’ of the popular dystopian tv series called ‘Black mirror. In one of these episodes there is scary portrayal of beast like creatures bearing human like features called the roaches. Whatever the ‘roach’ says or does doesn’t make any sense to the normal human beings.
We may even draw parallels between black lives in America and miyan bhai lives in India.
Both occupy the bottom rungs of their respective societies. Both have unusually huge representations in jails. The only difference is that here in India their dalit brethren also stand alongside them in Jails. Both the blacks of America and the neo blacks of India are heavily underrepresented in government and private jobs. Both of them are dependent on blue collar jobs for their livelihood. Both face discrimination practiced either directly or as an undercurrent by elite members of civil society. Here in India the miyan bhais join the ranks of dalits when it comes to discrimination .The list goes on and on and can be a topic of another article by itself. While the dalits are the classic example of apartheid in India Muslims are the neo blacks of India demonized and dehumanised by the present actors of statecraft.
I guess like Naseeruddin shah implored, it’s time for all right thinking citizens of India to speak out …..not just speak out but shout out so loud that the voices of hatred drown out.
What do a Marxist and a maharaja have in common?
By Gopalkrishna Gandhi
Had they not died at 81 and 55 respectively, two Indians would have turned 100 this year. And their centenaries would have been celebrated with enthusiasm — but by very different sets of people. As indeed, they are being organized, now, in their memories. No two persons could have been more different from each other than the bare-headed, bush-shirted Marxist, Indrajit Gupta, and the be-turbaned, bejewelled maharaja, JayachamarajendraWodeyar of Mysore. They were as contrastive as a sickle and a sapphire or a hammer and a diamond-encrusted walking stick.
And we can be certain that they hardly knew each other. They are, in fact, unlikely to have ever met. They could have done so, ironically enough, in England.
Indrajitbabu completed his Tripos at King’s College, Cambridge under the spell of the Marxist powerhouse, Rajani Palme Dutt, just as the young maharaja-to-be arrived in Britain to meet and get to know artists and writers. But they missed each other by a few months. Their paths were not meant to intersect in India. Indrajitbabu was no habitué of concerts of classical music over which the maharaja presided with natural flair. Correspondingly, the maharaja was never a member of the Lok Sabha to which the communist leader was elected 11 times and, as the seniormost member of parliament, was its pro tem Speaker, time and again. If they did ever actually meet, by chance, anywhere at all, we can take it that they exchanged nothing more than formal pleasantries, lapsing thereafter into silence.
And yet, history, culture and politics link the two exact centenarians, uncannily, through three distinct pathways.
First, through Moscow. For Indrajitbabu, the capital of the Soviet Union was the secular equivalent of a Mecca. The influence of Marxism which started in London, through Palme Dutt, streamed into the inspiration that the Communist Party of India, founded in 1920, had received since the time of the Second World Congress of the Communist Third International held that very year. For Jayachamarajendra too, Moscow was a pole star. And that came about through an altogether different cosmology: Western classical music. The core of that inspiration was Moscow-born and then London-based composer, Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951). Medtner became, for the young royal, a soul-drenching inspiration, leading him to finance the recording of a large number of Medtner’s compositions and then, not stopping there, to go on to found a Medtner Society in London, in 1949. Medtner’s Third Piano Concerto, Google tells us, is dedicated to Jayachamarajendra.
Second, Quit India. For very different reasons and from very distinct backdrops, both ‘CPI’s — the Communist Party of India and the Chamber of Princes of India opposed the Gandhi-led Congress movement of 1942. Indrajitbabu, as a loyal and policy-bound member of the Communist Party, stood with his party which opposed Quit India as it was directed against Britain which, in alliance with the Soviet Union, was fighting Hitler. Jayachamarajendra, crowned Maharaja in 1940, as a loyal and protocol-bound ‘21-gun salute Prince’, opposed the same movement in his state, emphatically, with other princes, in total solidarity with the British raj in the war effort. The two CPIs found themselves, in 1942, in the same trench, albeit in different parts of it.
Third, in the wake of India’s Independence, both Indrajitbabu and Jayachamarajendra, for very different reasons, got ‘stamped out’ together. This was not about them as individuals but about the institutions to which they belonged. The government of independent India, but more specifically, the deputy prime minister and home minister, SardarVallabhbhai Patel, banned the Communist Party of India in the rage of indignation after the party’s call, in its Second Congress led by B.T. Ranadive, for an armed struggle. And the princes were, of course, famously and deftly, made functus officio by him, in the calm of self-confidence, through the integration of their territories into the Indian Union. To adapt ‘Jack and Jill’, sickle, hammer, sceptre and crown, all four, came tumbling down and were compliant made with the new democratic State.
Communists are ideologically rooted, shaped and committed. But they are not robots. Marx and Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, were ideological kin, not identical twins. Josef Stalin can be left to describe himself. As were, in India, M.N. Roy and S.A. Dange, B.T. Ranadive and P. Sundarayya, E.M.S.
Namboodiripad and JyotiBasu, A.K. Gopalan and Harkishen Singh Surjeet, Lakshmi Sahgal and ArunaAsaf Ali. But who could fail to be struck by their individual personalities? All of them wrote on the same page but using type-fonts that were their very own.
Born on March 18, Indrajit Gupta (1919-2001) was ‘Sunny’ to his parents, ‘Comrade’ to his party, ‘Sir’ to deferential younger MPs across party divides and to admiring officials who worked for him when he was briefly but memorably India’s home minister. Choosing his responses to match the context, he was always himself. Brusque, even gruff with the facile, fatuous or facetious even from among his own circle, he was gentle and considerate towards all, including political adversaries. He could question his party line without flouting it. As India’s first and so far only communist home minister he opposed a move by the then governor of Uttar Pradesh to terminate the state’s BharatiyaJanata Party-led government, for the step was constitutionally open to question. And he told Opposition MPs criticizing him: “If I were in your place, I would have done the same.” In our times when unnamed donors can contribute to uncountable election expenses, Indrajit Gupta will be remembered for the key recommendation of a committee on election reforms that he chaired: “The names of donors should be invariably declared.” His sense of justice came from communism, his sense of fairness came from himself.
Except in 45 out of the world’s 195 countries, royals are an extinct or rapidly extinguishing order. They are a living archive, a breathing monument, half sepia, half colour, uncomfortable with the past, uneasy about the future. And their present? It is difficult. If a fool, a prince, be he an incumbent or ‘ex’, occasions no surprise. If a debauch, no shock. But should she or he have, as indeed so many royals have, like all humans, their own uniqueness, a spark of talent or the gift of a skill, a personality of their own, they cause some disbelief and get to be dismissed as the exception that only… and so on.
Born almost exactly a hundred years ago, on July 18, JayachamarajendraWodeyar (1919-1974), the 25th and last Maharaja of Mysore, was exceptional. His large and strong frame looked like granite sculpture. ‘Majestic’ as an adjective never had a more natural subject than this monumental king with a broader than usual forehead, a brocade turban completing the larger-than-life effect. He had exceptional attributes going for his mind, of which sound political sense ranked high. Having been loyal to the British raj, his signing of Mysore’s Instrument of Accession to independent India, was swift. Moving from being Maharaja to becoming Rajpramukh and then governor of the merged and reorganized Mysore state, Jayachamarajendra was also governor of the neighbouring non-royal state of Madras. But if this prince is remembered today it is for something that was his own personal achievement, his own individual attainment: his vaggeyakara’s passion for composing tunes and lyrics. Jayachamarajendra composed a significant number of songs in both the Carnatic and Hindustani traditions. But it is the fate of gifted princes to have their gifts seen as borrowings. The extraordinary novelist, R.K. Narayan, has this to say of Jayachamarajendra: “The so-called compositions of the Mysore Maharaja were actually composed by Vasudevachar. The Maharaja would call Vasudevachar and say I want these phrases from the Devi Ashtottram and the composer would do his bidding”.
Unconditional admirer as I am of Narayan as a writer and human being, I have to say that his assessment of the composer-King is certainly entertaining but unfair.
What do the synchronizing centenaries of an outstanding Indian Marxist and an exceptional Indian maharaja tell us today? This, that the individuality of its people, their contrasting affiliations, their passions are the soul of our republic, not monochromatic sameness trying to pass muster as unity. And that two seemingly unconnected Indians connect us today to that truth.
(The telegraph, kolkata)
Need to rework tactics on Pak, J&K
By K C Singh
Before heading to Washington to meet US President Donald Trump on July 22, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan opened up his country’s airspace to international flights, after months of closure, and rearrested Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind behind terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. President Trump promptly tweeted his happiness over the latter as that group has American blood on its hands, having undertaken the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai over a decade ago. Pakistan had earlier linked its airspace reopening to India removing its Air Force fighters from forward deployment. New Delhi had rejected that demand. Pakistan’s volte face may have been prompted by a desire to show the US its reasonableness in dealing with India. The same may be behind Pakistan’s accommodative approach to the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor as it dropped from its delegation controversial pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla. Indian sensitivity on this issue was manifest when an expatriate organisation, Sikhs For Justice (SFJ), pushing the Referendum 2020 over Khalistan, was banned.
If all this heralded a thawing of India-Pakistan relations, an old issue resurfaced to negate it. On July 18, Pakistan had its knuckles rapped by the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Indian case filed over denial of consular access to KulbhushanJadhav, a former Indian naval officer, who was detained, tried and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for alleged espionage and terrorist activities. Rejecting the Pakistani arguments about lack of jurisdiction, the court held Pakistan in breach of its commitments under the Vienna Consular Convention of 1963. While Pakistan claimed victory as the court did not ask for the release and repatriation of Jadhav, the court sought a review of the judgment, immediate consular access for India and Jadhav being informed of his rights accordingly.
Pakistan agreed to grant the access, but many other issues linger. First, will Indian high commission officials be in physical proximity of the detainee and relatively free to converse without close monitoring? It is unlikely that the Pakistan Army will allow this, and may in fact repeat the theatre enacted when Jadhav’s mother and wife sat across a glass partition and conversed over the intercom and under intrusive oversight of security officials. Second, Pakistan has agreed to review the judgment as per their own prescribed procedures, which may entail its submission to the Chie of Army Staff or the President. Pakistan is unlikely to concede that due to the serious procedural flaw of denying the accused access to his country’s diplomatic mission and thus provision of proper legal assistance, the entire trial was vitiated. The military court had apparently relied on a “confession” obtained by coercive means and dubious circumstantial evidence.
Pakistan’s next steps in the Jadhav affair would thus condition the course of India-Pakistan relations. On the other hand, Pakistan will also expect that India should respond to positive steps taken by it, instead of sticking to the standard Indian line that Pakistani action against jihadi groups is tactical and reversible. Imran Khan’s US visit assumes importance in this regard as Pakistan would attempt to rebalance relations with Washington, which have during the Trump presidency slipped into open distrust. India has counted on this dissonance to pillory and pressure Pakistan. The White House statement on the eve of visit reads that the bilateral meeting is to “discuss a range of issues, including counter-terrorism, defence, energy, trade, with the goal of creating the conditions for a peaceful South Asia and an enduring partnership”. Clearly, the Afghan endgame, in which Pakistan has now been co-opted by China, Russia and the US to help, has altered US perceptions on Pakistan considerably. India on the other hand has been left on the sidelines of the Afghan game as President Trump wants to withdraw US troops after a face-saving peace pact with the American presidential election approaching in 2020. Meanwhile, India and the US are wrestling with trade issues that have episodically riled President Trump enough to fire angry tweets.
Thus, a bull-headed Pakistani policy may be losing its value as the world has other distractions and likely diminishing empathy for Indian complaints over Pakistani duplicity and sponsorship of terror. The seizure by Iran of a British oil tanker, in retaliation for an Iranian oil tanker carrying oil to Syria being seized by the British near Gibraltar, ups the ante in the Gulf. Britain has already warned its tankers from transiting the Straits of Hormuz. Operation Sentinel to create a multi-national escort force is still not off and running. Iran has dropped hints it may renegotiate the nuclear deal, but it would not discuss any rollback of its influence or even presence in West Asia. On July 24, British prime minister Theresa May will resign, and the process begin to install her successor – most likely to be Boris Johnson. On the same day Robert Mueller, the former FBI head who investigated the Russian collusion charges against the Trump electoral machine, will depose before the US Congress. Mr Mueller has said he would stick to explaining his report and not launch a witch-hunt against the incumbent US President, but it would distract an already election-oriented Mr Trump. Thus, a visible bonhomie between Mr Trump and Mr Khan can result in a more confident Pakistan willing to test the post-Balakot retaliatory doctrine of India.
Therefore, India would have to tailor its Pakistan policy accordingly. During Track II interactions with Pakistanis, some uncertainty is visible over the new Indian doctrine of pre-emptive or retaliatory military action if India is attacked by Pakistan-based terror groups known to be sponsored by the Pakistani military. But Pakistan is emerging from its isolation and economic mess. If the US opens the military assistance tap and restarts financial aid under the garb of compensation for counter-terrorism operations, then Pakistan may draw the wrong conclusion. It will continue to seek strategic depth in Afghanistan by helping instal a Taliban dispensation in Kabul and await Pakistan getting off the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force, which its ally China now chairs. After that, it will stoke as 2020 approaches both the “Khalistan” issue and the ire in the Kashmir Valley. A purely security-oriented approach to the Jammu and Kashmir problem will backfire eventually, much as normality may appear possible today as Pakistan has shut off the infiltration. The lesson for India is that the geo-strategic environment is not static. Nor can be one’s tactics to deal with it.
By Nirvaan Nadeem
We all have dreams. Some of us let them slip away, others hold fast to them. My dream is to one day – after I’ve done all that I came to do in this world – live peacefully far away in the mountains, with a small family and lots of animals. To grow my own food, go on long walks and get water from the nearby stream. Communicate with the birds, talk with the sheep and laugh with the dogs. To explore myself, and the few people close to me, and love fully.
Life has a strange way of preventing you from achieving your inner most, deepest sought dreams and desires. You can fight it all you want, but all eventually fall into the cycle, the broken system that we all worship. We start off by working so we can pay for basic amenities. The scope of “basic amenities” then widens, and we need to work some more. In order to work some more we develop various personas. We cannot trust everyone, we cannot like everyone. We start viewing others as a means to an end, as “products” determined according to status, wealth and looks, not human beings. Gradually we forget ourselves and who we truly were once – perhaps as children.
It may have started as an interesting game, as a life experience or experiment, but as the years pass by our personas take over, and we actually start believing them. After all, somewhere, in the back of their minds, children know they are just playing a game, that it’s all make-believe. For us adults however, there’s no one to tell us otherwise. We believe in the absurdity of money, something which does not have any tangible existence. If not money we believe in “status”, i.e. reaching higher and higher positions of power, authority and influence. We believe in devoting our lives to buying Guccis and Versaces – mere utility products with the name of someone much more intelligent than us. We work all year so we can buy a new car which will get us to the same place in the same time, the latest mattress on which we sleep the same way, the sofa on which we’ll sit the same way, the TV on which we’ll watch the same programs, or the home which will house (hopefully) the same family.
Rather than cure the problem, we target the resultant symptoms. Every third person I come across is on anti-depressants. Every second person has sleeping problems. The rest go a week-long yoga class or “spiritual talk”, recharged for churning out the same monotonous existence for the rest of the year. Decade after decade, we go about the same meaningless existence, always trying to earn more money, get better jobs, relationships or luxuries. If we were immortal it would have all made sense. Sadly, we are not, and try as hard as we might, in the end we all see this make-believe to be just what it is: that is, make-believe.
We have the unfortunate tendency to sum up the mysterious and ineffable thing that is life into neat little boxes. Any one deviating from the norm is labeled as being mentally unstable. A friend of mine once believed in spirituality and disregarded money, and was labeled as “bipolar” by doctors. As soon as he started making money, he was re-diagnosed as “quite normal”! Another friend used to be motivated and would have done anything to make it big. She moved to the states, grew bored with the routine and decided to find some other meaning in life. She is now diagnosed as “clinically depressed”. Apparently, here, the amount of money you make is inversely proportional to the level of your “sanity”. Think outside the box but make money? You’re a genius! Think outside the box but broke? Straight to the mental asylum!
We look at the “madmen” on the streets, the “primitives” in the forests as flawed, cut off from real life. Could it be in fact the other way round? What could be crazier than spending your entire existence running after cars and TV’s, and then dying, without a shred of knowledge of the purpose of it all in the first place? Could it be the madmen and primitives are the ones on the real “true” path?
Many of the patients in mental asylums have very different views on life. For one, they are not competitive, malicious or manipulative. The reasons for their actions often are at times much more profound than the mundane ones for ours. They believe in destiny, fate, the miraculous, higher powers, magic. I often find myself thinking that if what we make of life is only dependent on our perceptions, it would indeed be much more fulfilling to live a “mad” person’s life. Many are harmless, and are only labeled as such and locked up because they threaten the very fabric of modern-day society. We feel threatened by them, fundamentally because the very things we hold on to for our dear lives, these they shun and laugh at. “Madmen” can see through our disguises, our premises, our personas and our elaborate make-believe. And yet modern society is committed to “diagnosing” and “fixing” anyone who thinks in a radically different way.
As for myself, I can only hope one day to live a free life. To one day be able to experience the true magic, beauty and wonder of life that I know is there, just drowned out in the everyday noise of my thoughts. To one day roam freely the open forests, swim with countless fish and ducks and turtles, fly amongst the soaring eagles and climb the tallest mountains. To love not only each fiber of your being but each blade of grass, each petal of a flower and bark of a tree.To smell the fresh breeze and feel the delicate dewdrops dropping on your skin. That indeed, must be the true dream of every man and woman. If only we would wake up.
“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”